Byun Baek-hyun – better known as Baekhyun – is a member of K-pop boy band EXO. At the weekend, EXO held a private meet and greet in Seoul.
While at the meet and greet, an unidentified fan spoke to 25-year-old Baekhyun about her depression. While the conversation was long, it was recorded and shared online.
According to Soompi, the following was said toward the end of the conversation:
"…It seems that there are those who are experiencing depression as well. If I were to voice my thoughts, I don’t know why people become ill with depression and insomnia. I’m not criticizing it. You may not be able to force yourself to always think good thoughts but—. You know how there are people who have good energy in your life? Like friends or others, [and] you also have me. So, I hope that everyone can always smile when you see the other EXO members and myself. Ah—, that’s why, with that said, I hope that everyone will be able to become a little happier. Always hang in there everyone. Fighting!” He added before he left the venue, “Let’s all be happy together. Really, let’s be happy. Happy new year! Let’s smile together in 2018. Don’t be too stressed, and see you next year!"
Some have also claimed Baekhyun asked, "[Is it] Because you like it?" in relation to why people have depression.
Some people online who heard and read parts of the conversation expressed anger, believing Baekhyun's comments on depression to be offensive.
Others claimed that the excerpt had been mistranslated or taken out of context.
And that the mistranslation was a deliberate move by a BTS fan. The two bands' fans often clash on social media.
It was a mess.
Following the social media backlash, the fan apparently involved in the viral conversation later shared a series of clarifications to her Twitter page. In them, she said the K-pop star's words had "touched" her.
Here is what they said, according to other Twitter fans.
She also shared a signed photo given to her by Baekhyun in which he wrote, "Thank you for being born!!"
Following the controversy, Baekhyun released a statement on his Instagram account, apologizing and saying he feels scared of depression. Read a translation by a fan below.
His fans have now started a campaign to direct positive comments toward him with the hashtag #WeLoveYouBaekhyun and through comments on his social media.
BuzzFeed has reached out to EXO's record label for further comment.
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ikran Dahir at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.